CrossFit Games Semi Finals 2023: What to Expect
What are the CrossFit Games Semi Finals?
Firstly, let’s quickly recap what the CrossFit Games semi finals are for those that aren’t aware.
Each year, CrossFit HQ publishes a series of workouts that every registered member of a CrossFit gym can take part in, which is known as the CrossFit Open.
The top performers from this competition that compete in online quarter finals, where they submit videos of their workouts from their local boxes.
The top performers from the quarter finals then quality for the semi finals, which are in-person competition across the world. The top performers from those events then qualify for the CrossFit Games, where they have the chance to be crowned the Fittest on Earth.
How Many Qualify?
As with previous iterations of the games, how many people quality from each are varies. For example, in Africa, only the Mens and Womens semi finals winners will qualify for the games. On the other hand, the top five men and women from North America West, and the top five from North America East, will punch their ticket to the games.
There has been calls from some corners for more inclusivity outside of the United States, but it is a double edged sword. While including more athletes from around the world would certainly help the sport continue to grow and prosper, something it has seen less of in recent years, it would also reduce the standard of the competition somewhat in the short term, given most of the top athletes reside in the US.
Athlete qualification numbers remain unchanged from 2022, with a total of 40 mens and womens spots up for grabs.
NA East: 11 Women, 12 Men.
NA West: 10 Women, 9 Men.
Oceania: 3 Women, 3 Men.
Africa: 1 Woman, 1 Man.
South America: 2 Women, 2 Men.
Europe: 11 Women, 11 Men.
Asia: 2 Women, 2 Men.
The CrossFit Games Semi Finals 2023 Schedule
North America East
Start Date: May 18th - 1pm
End Date: May 22nd - 12am
Location: Orlando, FL, USA
Ones to Watch: As you would expect, competition for places is fierce in North America East, but one person who might be worth watching is Dallin Pepper. He has some experience under his belt after last season, and lead the field after the quarter finals.
However, he will face tough competition from games veterans like Noah Ohlsen, Jeff Adler, and Spencer Panchik, as well as other relative youngsters Khrennikov and Hopper, also keen to build on their successes from last year.
Start Date: May 19th - 7am
End Date: May 21st - 6pm
Location: Johannesburg, South Africa
Ones to Watch: On the women's side, Michelle Merland will be desperate to claim top spot once more, and try to better her finish of 39th at last year's games.
However, with only one spot up for grabs, she faces a tough challenge against some bright up-and-coming African youngsters.
North America West
Start Date: May 25th - 4pm
End Date: May 29th - 3am
Location: Pasadena, CA, USA
Ones to Watch: Staying on the women’s side of the draw, the North American West division is one of the toughest to call. The field is stacked with games veterans such as Dani Speegle and Emily Rolfe, as well as plenty of exciting youngsters.
While she qualified in 20th place, many fans will have eyes on Katrin Davidsdotter, to see if she is able to rebound from last years disappointment and punch her ticket back to the biggest CrossFit event of the year.
Start Date: May 25th - 11pm
End Date: May 28th - 10am
Location: Tennyson, QLD, Australia
Ones to Watch: With just 3 spaces up for grabs, 2023 brings another season of discontent from the Oceania-side of the draw, who feel they should have many more spaces available for qualification.
And it’s not hard to see why. With Ricky Garard and Jay Crouch firmly setting the pace in the quarter finals, it is tough to see past the fact the rest of the field are likely chasing down 1 spot.
Start Date: May 26th - 12pm
End Date: May 28th - 11pm
Location: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Ones to Watch: Can you even talk about South America and not talk about Guilherme Malheiros? It is almost impossible to take your eyes off the charismatic Brazilian. After qualifying firmly in first place, all eyes will be on what weight he puts up for the inevitable barbell complex event.
Start Date: June 1st - 7am
End Date: June 4th - 6pm
Location: Berlin, Germany
Ones to Watch: On the European side of the draw, athletes will have to try and overcome top athletes such as BKG and the Dukic brothers. Could this be the year England finally have another male representative in the field at the CrossFit Games? With Harry Lightfoot in 5th and Reggie Fasa in 6th, they stand every chance.
Start Date: June 2nd - 12am
End Date: June 4th - 11am
Location: Busan, South Korea
Ones to Watch: With Roman Khrennikov qualifying for the North American East semis, the door is open for another Asian male hero to step forward. Keep an eye out for Hamza Abdalfatah, who is sure to impress in the barbell events.
What Can We Learn From Last Year?
If last year's workouts are anything to go by, semi finals athletes can expect lot’s of high-volume gymnastics and a long, heavy complex.
In recent years, CrossFit HQ have seemingly added what feels like more and more reps to their max lift event, offering up a 3 clean, 2 front squat, 1 jerk in event 4 of last years semis.
With that in mind, it might not be out of the picture to see a similar rep scheme this year, but perhaps involving snatches and overhead squats.
Last year’s semi finals also saw athletes tackling parallette handstand push ups, high volume toes to bar and ring muscle ups, and legless rope climbs, so expect to see plenty more complex gymnastics movements this year, perhaps movements such as pistol squats, that often get a look in at the Games, but less frequently at semi final competitions.
Recent team and individual semi finals have also seen the inclusion of shuttle runs, however they featured in the Open this year, making them less likely to appear again.
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